Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Revolution Prelude - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

The Revolution Prelude comic has been made available on the internet for free from IDW - a nice little to touch to help promote the release of the 5 part Revolution series.  I did read it online and didn't think that I would ever have a copy of the comic in my hands.

Luckily, Jose over at the M.A.S.K.- Peaceful Nations Alliance Facebook Page managed to get his hands on 10 copies of the comic.  He's been running competitions with M.A.S.K. related questions.

Prior to each competition, he posted information about the time and date the competition would start - along with the competition rules.  I sat with his Facebook page open constantly refreshing with F5 to make sure I caught one of his competitions.  The particular competition that night was a blacked out image of a character from the world of M.A.S.K.

It was part guess and part luck.  I could vaguely make out glasses and a moustache - didn't seem to fit with any of the M.A.S.K. or V.E.N.O.M. agents.  Then it struck me - Duane Kennedy - leader of the P.N.A. - seemed fitting for the page!

I think I had my answer in within a minute of Jose posing the question.  I don't think he expected anyone to answer quite that quickly!

Anyway, the comic arrived today.  I know that it's been available online for a while, and I could've reviewed it well before now, but seems more fitting to review now that have a tangible, paper, traditional comic in my hands.

So, I read it to my 6 year old son as part of his Bedtime Story Routine tonight.  Although I'm only on the prelude issue, I think, going from what I've already seen of future comics, that part of my reviews for all the issues may have similar gripes.

Before I do any further, I'm going to be as honest as I can be.  I will have some positives and negatives.  I'm not going to apologise for my frank opinion - and it is just that; an opinion!

First things first, I have mentioned before in previous posts about the size difference between UK and US Comics.  In America, everything seems like they have to be large - cars, food portions, houses, egos, etc.  

However, American Comics are small.  Very Small.  Fit in a ladies handbag kind of small.  Kid size small.  Put it down for two minutes and you can't find it again small.

Ok, I think I've made my point, your comics are small.  However, there is no scrimping on action.  The Artwork in this comic is amazing!  It's vibrant, colourful, explosive and truly draws you in.

Like the UK Comics from the 80's, we have a fantastic wraparound cover and every inch delivers.  Now, imagine if this comic was the size of a UK Comic - how much more impactful the cover would be?

The black banner along the top of the page, with the now familiar Revolution text is crisp, clean, modern and well....  Just looks amazing.

But, we do have a couple of problems.  Although Switchblade on the back cover (not pictured above) resembles every inch the iconic vehicle from the 80's, Thunder Hawk and Rhino on the front cover are somewhat different.

They are more rounded... and more like Caricatures of the originals.  The ramp and missile within Rhino are also opening up from the wrong side - based on the toy of the 80's.

But that isn't the biggest issue with the cover.

In my opinion, the cover of a comic or magazine should have some relevance to the comic within.  Let's say you were buying a TV - if, on the box, it showed a picture of a 55", 4k, 3D, top of the range Smart TV - that is what you would expect to find when you open the box.  If you opened the box and found an outdated, 32" standard definition TV - you would feel completely short changed.

So, why shouldn't a comic cover be any different?  If I have a comic that is tempting me in with images of Switchblade, Rhino and Thunder Hawk, I would be expecting them to be on the inside of the comic as part of the story or at least a vehicle profile - like the old UK Comics.

Instead, the only link to M.A.S.K. within the story, is the character Miles Manheim - known as Miles Mayhem.  With the variation covers I've seem so far for some of the comics - see my Blogpost on the Issue 1 covers as an example - there seem to be some discrepancies in styles of Masks, vehicles, outfits, etc.  I think that we are going to be sold comics with great looking covers that bare no resemblance or connection with the stories within.  That would be a shame.

It would also be a false way of selling comics if that is also the case.

The actual story itself is very basic.  It centres mainly on G.I. Joe characters talking about the history of The Transformers and their impact on Earth - with a little of input from Miles Mayhem.

It is a prelude comic, I understand that.  It has to set things up.  If I were to compare it to the Preview issue of the UK M.A.S.K. Comics, I would say the positive is the great full colour art.  However, lacks in size and story.  But mainly, it lacks M.A.S.K.

I've order the first few issues of Revolution and I believe that the first issue should be with me soon so I'm hoping to review that for you as soon as I can.

Feel free to pop over to my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page, like and share and leave your comments below.

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Transformers Trailcutter Versus M.A.S.K.'s Jackhammer

I was doing a search on Google the other day there when I came across this Picture...

It kind of took me by surprise!  At first glance, in small preview, I thought it was some kind of Jackhammer toy that may have been part of some giveaway back in the day.  When I clicked on the picture to enlarge, the Autobot symbol became more noticeable.

I clicked onto the page featuring this image and came across a great blog - Transfromers4Collection and in particular a page all about the Autobot, Trailcutter.  You should pop over for a look - there are great reviews on M.A.S.K. toys and others as well!

In this partially transformed state, there is no denying there is a resemblance to our beloved Jackhammer.

And judging by the fact the picture came up whilst doing a search for M.A.S.K., in particular Outlaw, the search engine Google must also agree with me how much it resembles Jackhammer.

What do you think?  Is this part of Hasbro's great plan to bring M.A.S.K. and Transfromers toys closer together?

Perhaps we'll never know.

Share your comments below or over at the M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

Thank you,


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Monday, 12 September 2016

Sly Rax and Vanessa Warfield on the cover of Action Man?

The boys over at Agents of M.A.S.K. have posted about the new cover of Action Man.  It would appear to depict Sly Rax and Vanessa Warfield.

It is a great image and shows our two V.E.N.O.M. agents fighting alongside Action man and a Transformer.  I'm not even going to guess at which Transformer, my knowledge in that field is lacking these days.

It's well drawn and certainly draws you in.

Despite being a fantastic image, there are two issues that I have with this picture.

The first being that this hints to M.A.S.K. related characters being in this Action Man Comic.  This is where having a share universe gets messy.  We don't even have Revolutions or our standalone M.A.S.K. Comic yet and already we're being drawn in to buy other IDW Comics.

I'm sure that Action Man will be a great comic, but I'm not interested in buying it.  I want M.A.S.K. - plain and simple.

The next issue that I have with this cover is guns.

IDW are missing the point of why M.A.S.K. is called what it is.  Vanessa and Rax (if that definitely is who we're looking at) are wearing their Whip and Stiletto masks.  So, why do they need guns?

Surely, if we are bringing all of these teams together - Transformers, M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, Action Man, etc. - shouldn't we at least see their unique differences?  Isn't the point that M.A.S.K. have different weapons to G.I. Joe to Transformers to Action Man?

If you are just going to give them guns - just call them Joes.

It may seem like I'm being harsh - but IDW really need to step up their game and bring people what they want - and that is M.A.S.K.

I was in a comic store recently to find out about ordering the new comics.  Not a single comic on the shelves was IDW.  The store owner told me that people aren't as interested in IDW titles as they are Marvel or DC Comics.  In fact, the regulars who order IDW's Transformers comics may not last once the Revolution begins.

IDW - setting M.A.S.K. up to fail before it's started.

M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

IDW M.A.S.K. Issue 1 Covers

Over the past few weeks, we've seen more images of the covers of both Revolutions and M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.  So far, I've seen two M.A.S.K. Issue 1 Covers, whether more have still to be released, I'm not sure, but given the number of Revolution Variations I've seen - it's more than likely.

The first of these covers show our M.A.S.K. team racing into action.

As a 1st issue cover, this is awesome.  Vibrant and Colourful. Great Detail.  Plenty of Motion and Action on the front cover and I would hope that this continues on the inside of the comic.  If you are an original M.A.S.K. fan, like myself, this image, although not 100% Classic M.A.S.K., is easily recognisable as being M.A.S.K. and takes me straight back to my childhood.

As ever with my blog, I'd like to dissect this image further and discuss the individual components - starting with the Masthead.

Clearly, Comics, Magazines and Newspapers have to be easily Identifiable in the newspaper stands or comic book shelves.  The Standard M.A.S.K. Logo creates an issue for publications.


As M.A.S.K. is now dead, I'll use the one of the new M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand Logo's to help explain.

For all intents and purposes, the logo is a square.  It may not look like a square with the sweeping arc around Rhino, the M.A.S.K. text and the now famous mystery Mask not seen anywhere other than in the logo (maybe IDW will write a story where this is the original Mask.....  Just saying!)!  But, it takes up the space of a square.

Back in the day of TV's having an aspect ratio of 4:3 - this had a dramatic impact during the opening titles of the cartoon as everyone remembers the M.A.S.K. logo coming right at you from your screen!

The Challenge with this shape, is that it would either take up half of the cover of a comic or would be that small it wouldn't be seen on the shelves in amongst the other IDW, DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Etc. etc. comics available.

Back in the 80's, DC Comics take on the M.A.S.K. logo was to reduce the size of Rhino and the MASK.

By doing so, it made it easier to fit on the cover of the comic.

It was easy to see the title name of the comic and the text remained in the same recognisable Font but the overall, in my opinion, isn't that great.

Yes, you have all of the elements of the original logo - but being out of proportion, ruins the overall effect and brand image of the product.

Over here in the UK, IPC/Fleetway's take on the cover was completely different.

By removing Rhino from the Logo allowed them to keep the proportions the same on the rest of the logo.  In doing so, not only does the Text stand out from the crowd, we can also recognise the Mask picture as well.

One of the advantages of M.A.S.K. is it's short title name - meaning that, even in the crowds of other comics, it's easy to spot those four letters.

I'm glad, therefore, that IDW have made the correct choice and followed in the footsteps of the UK Comic and using a similar style logo.

Working down from the logo, we then have Matt Trakker wearing his infamous Spectrum Mask in Thunder Hawk.  What can we say except classic M.A.S.K.

To the right of Thunder Hawk's steering wheel, we have Julio Lopez in Firefly.  Again, this is an iconic shot of Firefly - viewing it from above so we can easily recognise it.  One little niggle, though, and that is that the front wings aren't deployed.  Has firefly changed since the good old days, or is this an oversight on the part of the artist?

Rhino....  In action mode.  What more would we expect from the cover of the comic?  Looking at the front of the rig, it looks like the squareish front of the 80's Big Rig has made way for a more modern and rounded Big Rig.  If we have an updated Rhino, might this partly explain why we don't have our original Logo featuring a more classic design?

Hurricane.  The colours and design are classic Hurricane straight from the original.  When you look at most of the vehicles in the M.A.S.K. Series, they are based on vehicles of the time - mid 80's design.  With Hurricane being from the 50's, I guess it was easier to keep the design in the mix and not change the style of the car mode and it still fits in.

However, there are some guns that appear to be coming out of the front wings.  Does this mean that the alternate, battle/defense mode of Hurricane may be different from the original design?  I guess we'll need to wait and see.

Gator has been updated somewhat - looking more like a speedboat than a hydroplane.  I'm looking forward to seeing it in action.

Finally, Condor.  We have the original green colour and what appears to be its patented Anti-matter gun coming from the light unit at the front.  The artist has put plenty of detail into this vehicle to the point we can make out the chain links.

There is a question/niggle that I have with this image of Condor.  With all of the original vehicle designs, they were done in a way that our imaginations made the vehicles plausible in real life.  Rhino, as an example, if you had the time and money wouldn't actually be that difficult to build and make work.  Could Piranha's sidecar turn into a submarine - with today's technology, I believe so, yes.

However, this design for Condor only seems to have one set of rotor blades.  In the original version, the rear wheel raised up and away from the rider, creating the tail rotor.  This new design doesn't seem to do this.  So, although looking awesome, I can't get round the fact that I don't think this design would fly.  I know that may not make sense to a lot of people when we have a Camaro that turns into a plane or a Nissan ZX that turns into a plane - but these toys/vehicles were designed in such away that your imagination gave you a sense that they could fly.

This design doesn't.

Overall, a great cover.

The second variation release so far is a more simple affair.

Matt Trakker standing back to back with Miles Mayhem.  A more poignant image - perhaps depicting the inevitable turning their backs on each other and going their separate ways?

Yes, Matt has changed a lot, most notably his race, but I like the detail in his flight suit.  What I don't like is his Mask.  And this is where IDW are complicating matters for fans - there may be a simple answer once the comic comes out.  But, why is Matt's Spectrum Mask in this image completely different from the other cover?

This is a variation cover of the same comic - does that mean that somewhere in the plot line Spectrum changes?

Miles looks ok but his new Viper Mask is awful.  Other cover images from Revolutions show Viper being more like the original.

It's almost as if these Masks are designed based on faces of Transformer Robots.  Just doesn't work for me.

Anyway, got a couple of months to wait on the actual realise of the new comic before we'll get some questions answered.  In the meantime, head over to my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page and Like, Comment and Share. 

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